Tag Archives: NXT

NXT Hits the Road | First Stop: Cardiff

NXT has taken the road over the past two months outside of their Full Sail home to bring some of the best in pro wrestling across the Midwest and even the UK. We’ve got women all over attending these non-televised house shows and sending us their reviews! If you’d like to contribute to this series, or any coverage of local events, please reach out to us on twitter! First up, we have the amazing Ru Gunn from Voices of Wrestling who attended NXT Cardiff and it sounds like she had a whale of a time. Read for yourself below!

Continue reading NXT Hits the Road | First Stop: Cardiff

NXT Takeover London: Predictions

In a surprise turn of events, NXT is going to have to pull out all the stops to measure up to the TLC PPV; that being said, we have no doubts that our fave wrestlers are going to deliver quality entertainment. This makes it harder to tease since there’s not a match on the card we’re not interested in.

Let’s take a look at what we have in store and our thoughts on how it’ll pan out:

Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Baron is surprisingly forgettable, despite the potential his character holds. This will be an interesting chance for Apollo Crews, actual ray of sunshine, to bring some excellent talent to an otherwise mediocre match.

We’ve had the joy of seeing Apollo crews climb through the roster pretty quickly, and can’t wait for what’s to come from him next… hopefully next time it will be against a more worthy adversary. Nothing can really stand in his way with the exception of Asuka and Joe, who we will see later tonight, but maybe the three of them will team up and do a little dance in the centre of the ring catching us all by surprise.

*Surprise twist: Apollo lifts Baron’s motorcycle and crushes him with it, but since Apollo shines bright like the moon he actually helps Baron to transform into a werewolf. Sadly, no one is packing and silver bullets, so it’s time to call up to our main roster comic book characters to help this story unfold.

Asuka vs. Emma

There is going to be some obvious interference on Emma’s behalf here, since that’s what’s been pushed over and over again, but it’s working. Asuka is our clear standout  in what will be a brilliant match of submissions.

*What can’t happen under any circumstances: In an effort to continue turn the tables on Asuka mocking them, Emma comes out in a kimono and Asuka’s mask. Thankfully, this won’t happen, but we don’t rule anything out in the WWE Universe.

Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady

It’s about time the realest guys in the room took home the tag championship since they’ve already turned our hearts SAWFT. The boys have recent pulled away from their comedy stylings as revenge for Colin’s knee injury, and it’ll be a feat of victory if they steal the titles and continue this aggressive streak they’ve started.

*You can’t teach that: What is “How to retain a tag belt in NXT for any substantial period of time?”

Bayley vs. Nia Jax

nxtakover

Bayley has hugged us all, but she can’t hold that belt forever, and it only seems obvious that Nia continues her undefeated streak and snatches the title from Bayley. It can honestly go either way for a multitude reasons, and it’ll be a treat no matter the outcome.

*Next level staring contest: The match has the potential to turn into a battle of who can hug the other for the longest, and the entire universe takes a nap and falls more in love with one another going forward.

Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe

nxtakover2

Do we dare predict that all three titles switch hands tonight? Why not go for broke and continue the upset.  Balor and Joe have had an interesting story ever since Joe came on the scene, from tag team partners, to a blow of disrespect, to sworn enemies, it’s nice to see characters develop and evolve over time.

*Montreal screw job gains a newer, happier meaning: Sami Zayn returns and blindsides both of them taking the title for himself and reigns over NXT before summoning Kevin Owens to come back down and prove himself once more.

 

A look that defies gravity | Neville

I was lucky enough to be in the crowd the night Adrian Neville, or Neville as he is known now, debuted on the main WWE roster, and I quickly became a huge fan of his new look. I love capes in wrestling, something about the over the top nature of wearing a cape appeals to me (shocking, I know). Thus it seemed only appropriate to try and formulate a look based off the purple gear Neville has been sporting lately, and keeping it dramatic while also somewhat wearable.

neville progress

For this look I started with the eyes because I knew I would get a lot of fallout from the shadows. I started by priming my eyes with the Urban Decay eyeshadow primer, and then began applying the different shades of purple. The palettes I used for this look were both by Sleek because I am a huge fan of their pigmentation. I started with the light purple shimmer color from the Snapshot palette and placed that at the inner corner of my eye. I then went in with the purple shade from the Ultra Mattes V.1 palette and blended the two. Finally, I took the darkest purple from the Snapshot palette and applied that to the outer corner of my eyes, using a blending brush to blend it inward and distribute the product leftover on the brush into the crease to create some definition. I then wiped that blending brush off and took a bit of the shimmery off white color from the Snapshot palette and blending that in under the eyebrow and into the inner tear duct.

At this point, I took an eyeliner brush and black cream eyeliner from ELF and lined my upper lash line. While that was setting I took a smaller eyeshadow brush and ran some of the darkest purple color under my bottom lashes. I then applied mascara to both the top and bottom lashes. The one I used was Lights, Camera, Lashes by Tarte, but any mascara will do. I then applied false eyelashes. The ones I am wearing here are the Oh, Honey! Lashes from the Katy Perry/Eylure line. After the lashes were applied and dried, I ran some of the same black eyeliner over them to cover any white glue left from application. I finally finished the eyes with some purple glitter liner. The one I used here was the Revlon Photoready Eye Art in Lilac Luster. I personally feel like the eyeshadow portion of this product is weak, which is why I don’t use it often, but the glitter half is great and there’s a wide range of colors to choose from in the line.

I kept my face and lips simple because the eyes were already so busy. I first used the Smashbox Color Corrector because I have a lot of natural redness and it really helps to control that. Then I applied foundation and concealer. I’m trying out a new foundation which is the Mary Kay CC Cream in Very Light, and the concealer used was NW20 by Mac. I set those with a plain powder (HD Powder by City Color) using a large face brush. For my lips I used the Kate Moss for Rimmel London lipstick in 03, which is a very neutral taupe color.

Sasha Banks: A champion we can bank on changing women’s wrestling

They say that the best heels are the ones who are fundamentally in the right. So when the ring general of NXT and current women’s champion Sasha Banks makes a claim that she will match and surpass legends like the Fabulous Moolah as the greatest women’s wrestler in history well… there’s evidence that points to Banks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The phrase “Sasha Banks is the rock of NXT’s women’s division,” can be read as a metaphor or an allusion and still be a true statement. Banks is the foundation of the success of the division, inside her toolbox of wrestling abilities there’s a fix for every opponent in her way, and her adaptability means a high rate of must-watch matches. She can match Becky Lynch’s innovative submissions, be as athletic as Charlotte and go blow for pummelling blow with Bayley. Most of all, Banks has the personality to go with all of that- she is a distinguishable presence who not only talks smack but backs it up. And like The Rock, Banks comes with her own catchphrases, nicknames, and unique personal style. In short: Sasha Banks is the total package.

fourway

Banks among those leading the charge for women’s wrestling in NXT means the opportunities we have been seeing to match quality and character development are only going to continue so long as she has anything to do with it. Growing up as a young wrestling fan Banks loved the legendary Eddie Guerrero, but was unable to really get behind the Divas. Banks’ formative years as a fan were days where bra and panties matches and pillow fights were a hefty fraction of WWE’s women’s content, that and the infamous Trish Stratus and Bradshaw vs. Jackie Gayda and Chris Nowinski match. Banks knew, even at ten years old, that women in wrestling deserved better. She knew that if she was going to make it to WWE, she was going to perform above and beyond the notion of Divas that was offered up to her in the 2000s.

banks breezeSo far, Banks’ performance in NXT is not only backing up the argument that women in wrestling deserve better, fans are clamouring for more good women’s wrestling in WWE. The existence of women like Banks who – as cliche as it sounds – live, breathe, eat, sleep wrestling and therefore have a mind for the business are beneficial on a more mainstream level, because more fans will see a standard of wrestling that women deserve and ultimately demand it.

It doesn’t seem like it’s been all that long since there has been a women’s wrestler in the greater WWE-sphere that has received such unanimous praise from all parts of the fandom, but Banks has managed to maintain support where other well loved Divas have faltered. Part of this is attributable to her workrate, and part due to her openness on social media.

Banks is one of the few WWE related personalities who openly uses Tumblr. Through it fans can relate to her not just as a hard working, badass character (which often comes out in kayfabe reblogs of her rivals with heelish comments), but her nerdy side which includes but is not limited to Sailor Moon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, comic book characters and 90s nostalgia in general. Banks is also a fervent admirer of joshi and along with reblogging the greats of AJW, will post some of the weirder moments in puroresu like Kota Ibushi flashing his bum, Kenny Omega in DDT and even Don Frye. All this amidst a torrent of pictures of Victoria’s Secret models and beauty inspiration.

Banks’ social media presence is so important because it affirms that women don’t need to other themselves and stress they’re “not like most girls,” they can be their authentic self and embrace all sides of the outdated girly girl/tomboy spectrum without tearing anyone apart for their interests. And you can be respected as a woman in your craft doing it.

It also teaches us you can be one of the best wrestlers in WWE and still get a kick out of headcanons, photoshopped images of you with other wrestlers and every now and again ask your following to convince Hideo Itami or Finn Balor to get a picture with you. sasha kentaTo put it bluntly, Sasha Banks looks into the depths of her tag on tumblr and doesn’t flinch, no matter what’s in there. that’s bravery.

So Banks has something for everyone: a developed character, marketability, an inspirational journey and a hint of fangirling, oh and she’s put on some of the best matches this year to boot. It won’t be long until we see Banks wowing crowds at much larger scales and proving that women’s wrestling is awesome.

Becky Lynch: Charming us into Submission

Of NXT’s “Four Horsewomen” leading the charge in changing women’s wrestling in WWE, it’s Ireland’s Becky Lynch we’ve seen NXT_266_Photo_11-3362264059_0the least of. If you tally up the amount of matches each woman has had on NXT television, Lynch has a mere 18, that’s half of Charlotte’s total (36) and a smaller fraction of Bayley and Sasha Banks’ (40 and 48 respectively). And in those 18 matches, not including appearances in backstage segments or accompanying her BAE-partner Sasha, Lynch has not stayed with one fixed character or look for long. She has seen her fair share of hopping (and skipping, and jigging) around things that may or may not have worked. In spite of her character soul-searching on air, there is so much more to Lynch than meets the eye and her depth means we’re going to see even more great things from the emerald of the women’s division.

NXT commentary has reminded fans time and time again about Lynch’s 15 year-old wrestling beginnings. At 18 and 19 years old Lynch was already traveling the world, completing tours in Japan, across Europe and North America. One of the highlights of Lynch’s (then-Knox’s) early years was a 2-out-of-3 falls match in Shimmer against Daizee Haze.

The near half-hour bout was filled with submission maneuvers, mat work and counters. Those technical skills never left her even as a career-threatening injury forced Lynch to take time off wrestling and try out pastures new, none of which could ever replace wrestling.

Over Lynch’s time in NXT she’s had the opportunity to not only regain in-ring confidence and enhance her abilities on the

W0tQ7Rdmicrophone, but bring out her own personality in the face of “reel”-y questionable character traits. Even being a redheaded rocker or backstabbing Bayley to align with Sasha Banks had a vague sense of deja vu. But Lynch has an endearing personality and quite the sense of humour. Lynch is also an esteemed wordsworth, going on warpaths of puns while livetweeting WWE RAW and other events.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But no piece on Becky Lynch could ever go without mentioning (and grovelling through words) her biggest break yet: the NXT women’s championship match against Sasha Banks at May’s NXT Takeover Special. Lynch introduced the NXT audience to her submission specialties, her holds and suplexes and her attention to detail. The psychology in the match has been applauded by many a fan, calling back to the match structures of decades gone by and ultimately supplying yet another easy addition to the Match of the Year short list.

 

It is all these things that earn Lynch outpours of appreciation from her peers around social media, including a shout-out from the late American Dream in one of his final tweets. Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 1.36.03 PMWe can hope that one day Lynch may have more lengthy holds and counters heavy chain wrestling bonanzas, or that she will have more time to let her naturally comical side out. But with so much to offer, you might as well sit back, grab a pint and enjoy the future for Becky Lynch.

Charlotte does it with Flair

When her entrance music hits, the sampling of Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra gives you all you need to know about her esteemed wrestling lineage. When she defeats her opponents in the ring, the same sampling sends her off. In a way it’s a sign that her familiar entrance theme is the first and last thing Charlotte wants to hear about being “Ric Flair’s daughter” and luckily she has given wrestling fans plenty of reason to see her as her own woman.

In a showcase of the benefits of the WWE Performance Center, the company would be blind not to feature Charlotte front and centre. She has combined her athletic background with wrestling training that has come exclusively from the facility and in turn put together impressive performances that have allowed her to strut her way onto many Match of the Year lists. Charlotte is evidence that the approach to developing women’s wrestling in NXT is working, provided women are allowed the opportunity to put in the time and the work, and it’s clear Charlotte has put in tremendous work.

It has been incredible to see Charlotte’s growth over the duration of NXT, beginning as the new girl in the BFFs to taking the opportunity to become the next face of the NXT women’s division. Her big break was at NXT Takeover to determine the new Women’s Champion against Natalya.

The match was largely a ground game/submission match, a style that showcased Charlotte’s grit and determination to take her place as the Queen of NXT. It was also a sign that women had a place in the WWE environment to take their time and develop more detailed, psychological matches.

nxt-takeover-natalya-charlotte

From there, her in-ring acumen has seen her embrace new styles and moves, enhanced by the talents of those she shares the ring with. From exciting matches with Sasha Banks to more emotionally charged bouts with Bayley, to the stunning performance of all three plus Becky Lynch in the fatal four way, Charlotte has a bounty of opportunity to keep getting better and better, and potentially develop a richer character.

Charlotte’s progress was enough to allow her a chance to grace the main product at the end of 2014 in another match against Natalya, but as many could see something was off. The two women work well together but the current environment of women’s wrestling in WWE proper is not conducive to what Charlotte, and with many other talent are meant to accomplish.

Whatever comes of the state of women’s wrestling in WWE, the work Charlotte has done in her short time becoming a wrestler does justice to her family name.

 

Bayley’s Gonna Hug You

You can just hear her name or see her face and your mouth curls into a smile. Is it the thought of hugs, headbands and high ponytails? The electric personality evident in most everything she does? Whatever it may be, Bayley is one of the most unique characters at the level she performs at, and arguably the most important character in all of WWE, because Bayley dares to cover territory a woman in WWE has never been allowed to enter.

 If you take a peek at the women’s division in WWE, for years it has been plagued with the stale notion of “all women are catty and out to get each other.” This has led to the absolute minimum amount of differentiation between faces, heels or the Divas in general other than “this girl dresses goth” or “this girl wears sporty clothes.” It’s not often that you can be quirky and happy all the time without having some kind of “crazy” label stamped on you.

Bayley is as babyface as a babyface could get. She only truly hates her opponents when they’ve given her no reason to like them, and although her counterparts may deem her strange, she’s never painted in a negative light for her positivity, ultimately earning the respect of many of her opponents because of her passion and heart, and maybe even her hugs.

 It could have gone up in flames from the get go. A perpetually giddy, awkwardly shy superfan could have been a nonstop cringefest. But Bayley touched on moments and experiences that many if not all wrestling fans could relate to. Let’s be honest, not all of us have played it super cool when meeting professional wrestlers, and some of us to this day still embarrass ourselves around anyone who’s laced up a pair of boots. We have all experienced the excitement that Bayley showed about wrestling and as a result people connected with her.

 As she’s developed, more of her own personality has come through in shows. Bayley has never made any secret of her pogo-sticking past and love of Randy Savage but on a deeper level, the superfan persona has evolved into showing her drive to be a great wrestler and how much she loves wrestling. Bayley simply can’t be bothered to constantly engage in tearing her rivals down, she’s busy making sure she is the best she can be.

 One of the strongest examples of Bayley’s heart and determination was in her match against Charlotte at NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way.

Bayley was the loveable underdog who put her all into battle with the whole crowd behind her. While her efforts were not enough to secure the championship, Bayley earned the hearts of the fans and gained new appreciation from Charlotte.

 Of the “four horsewomen”, Bayley interestingly enough brings the hard hitting moves to competition, ramming opponents into the ring, employing a number of suplexes including her signature Belly-to-Bayley, in essence taking her #huglife to a punishing level.

 

As far as role models in wrestling go, Bayley is no doubt among the top of the list. Her genuine nature, drive for self-improvement, respect for her peers and colourful presentation style has made her a favourite of young and old. And to have a character in wrestling that dares to be different beyond the normal alternative, not-like-most-girls specifications is refreshing. Bayley is all of us deep down, many years ago, when wrestling was the number one thing in our lives, and for quite a few of us out there, Bayley is still us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Hands up for NXT

NXT has been a force to be reckoned with for quite a while in the WWE, and nothing truly displays its staying power than a block of shows outside of Florida. Last week, the WWE began its first round of touring NXT to cities other than its usual home at Full Sail University, and it was a rousing success. Three shows were planned for the initial tour, two taking place in Philadelphia and the third in Albany, New York. I flew into Philadelphia for the Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling show, and thus stayed an extra day in order to catch the first NXT show. Initially there was only one show planned, but the original Thursday date sold out so quickly another show was added for the next evening.

Never having been to Philadelphia or an NXT show before, I was unaware of what to expect, and what I ended up experiencing completely shattered my expectations. We arrived approximately a half hour before the show was scheduled to begin, and the line to the entrance was roughly 3 blocks long at this point. That’s when I first realized this was going to be far more intense than I thought. The show was held in an old theatre and there was exponentially more seating than there looks to be at the weekly shows at Full Sail. I believe the show ended up being sold out, or very close to that, and according to the theatre’s website, it seats roughly 3,000 people.

Our seats were quite good, not close to the ring but in a great spot to see the action, and the NXT crowd is very different from many crowds I’m usually a part. The general age range seemed to be mid-twenties and there were far fewer children and families than one normally sees at a WWE show. My group were also the only women seated in our area, and from discussions with those around us, we collectively had been fans and had seen more shows than the rest. The man sitting directly in front of me confessed he had only been watching wrestling for a little over a year but he is now hooked, and the NXT show was his first live event.

I knew early on I was going to enjoy the evening because the crowd was brought to its feet immediately but the lovely, sinister chords of William Regal’s theme. Regal has been one of my favorite wrestlers since I was a child, so to stand up and bow to the man was a dream. He spoke favorably of NXT and the talent, as well as thanking the crowd for attending. Immediately following Regal was the introduction of Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Honestly, I believe the duo got the loudest pop of the night. In the other matches that followed there were some heavy cheering for favorites (Finn Balor and Sasha Banks being the loudest), but it seemed as though no one in the room sat through Enzo and Cass’s entrance. They of course faced Blake and Murphy and put on a very entertaining match, with tons of “SAWFT” and “HOW YOU DOIN?” chants throughout.

Following that was a fun women’s tag match that pitted the team of Alexa Bliss and Bayley vs Becky Lynch and Dana Brooke. Bayley was a hit with the crowd and everyone was on their feet for her entrance. The match was good and really showed off how great Bayley is at interacting with the crowd and keeping them invested in the match.

The next match was one I had been hoping to see, a triple threat for the title between Kevin Owens, Tyler Breeze and Finn Balor. The three are so incredibly well liked by the NXT Universe, and it was less of a “cheer for your favorite” match as it was a “cheer for absolutely everything” type of match. I particularly enjoyed the entire crowd participating in Balor’s entrance and throwing their hands in the air with him with every crescendo of his music. Owens began the match by leaving the ring and taking a seat ringside, which prompted “SIT OWENS SIT” and “CHILL OWENS CHILL” chants. The three of them worked very well together and most of us were surprised it was not the main event (at least until we realized what the main event would be).

After the conclusion of the triple threat, there was a solid intermission. The show started back up with a bang bang (see what I did there?!) and Mick Foley surprised everyone by arriving and giving a small speech about the amazing amount of talent at NXT. Baron Corbin vs Rhyno was next, and naturally, Rhyno received immense “ECW” chants. Corbin was absolutely playing heel in this match and the crowd was steadily against him, going so far as to alter the “New Day Sucks” chant and clap to a “Cor-Bin Sucks” one. People quickly became bored of the match and it devolved into obnoxious chants for a while, including a chant for The Young Bucks and other Ring of Honor stars, which was predictable seeing as half the crowd attended the Ring of Honor/NJPW shows the nights previous. He seemed to perform well in the heel role though, and after successfully pinning Rhyno follow the End of Days, called out Joey Styles at ringside and ordered him to bring more ECW alums to the show the following day for him to take care of.

One of my personal highlights of the night came next, when NXT papa himself, Triple H, made an appearance. The crowd collectively lost its mind, and even I, who have seen Triple H in person many, many times now, found myself jumping up and down and rocking out. The entire crowd joined in singing his theme, which was one of the weird, but oddly beautiful wrestling moments I’ve experienced. There’s something strangely heartwarming about looking at the person next to you and belting out “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GAME AND HOW YOU PLAY IT” as you jump up and down together like 10 year olds. Triple H walked around the ring and took video and selfies with nearly everyone at ringside, including Mick Foley and Joey Styles. He proceeded to enter the ring and say some words about his passion for NXT and for the talent. He then began to announce the main event, Sasha Banks vs Charlotte, which most of us assumed would headline after the triple threat being pre-intermission.

The crowd for the most part was impressive all night with a few snafu’s, the main one being someone trying to start a “No more divas” chant at this point. Thankfully, not only did the crowd boo and shut the person up, Triple H said something along the lines of ‘sorry man, these women are badass and they’re your main event.’ Unfortunately my camera died during this segment of the show so I have no amazing photos of these two phenomenal women, but it was really a blessing in disguise as I was able to concentrate all my attention on the absolute clinic these two women displayed. Both came out to equally loud cheers, and I’m happy to report that the minute the gross and stale “Sasha’s ratchet!” chants began, they were shot down with the loudest “NO SHE’S NOT” chant I’ve ever heard.

The match between Charlotte and Sasha was brilliant, full of great submission and chain wrestling and a few fun bits thrown in. Charlotte at one point broke out her father’s patented face plant and Sasha responded by Ric Flair strutting over her prone body. There were tons of near falls, outside of the ring attacks, and the final submission to give Sasha the win was beautiful. Both women left the theatre to a standing ovation and plenty of “This is Awesome” chants.

Other matches that took place involved Bull Dempsey vs Jason Jordan and Solomon Crowe vs Tye Dillinger. The only things to really note in those matches were the push they seem to be giving Dillinger, as he now has a ‘perfect 10’ gimmick, complete with a 10 scorecard he carries to the ring and raises when he’s done something relatively impressive. I’m not sold on him yet, but he quickly turned the fans on his side and let’s face it, wrestling fans love an easy thing to get hooked on chanting so “10” is a perfect fit.

All in all, the show was a brilliant success and an incredibly fun time. Even leaving the show was pleasant, and I was stopped twice between the exit doors and my train platform by people who wanted to discuss my Chuck Taylor shirt. Our ride back involved an entire train car of people talking about the show we had just seen, and it seemed as though at least half of the attendees of NXT had also gone to Ring of Honor/NJPW shows earlier in the week. It was a great experience and I would gladly throw down money to go again and again, especially if there’s another women’s match on the card that would even come close to the performance Sasha and Charlotte bestowed on we peasants.

We’re Just Your Eye Candy

Don’t believe women wrestlers are treated and viewed as glorified lingerie models? Try and conduct a Google Image search of one and find a shot of one in the ring fighting, I’ll wait…

image

Welcome back. Maybe I wasn’t specific enough? Let’s try searching for Lita and add the word “wrestler” to the end of it.

image

Hmm, still a lot of the same. This probably doesn’t come as a shock to any of you, we know this problem exists yet we choose not to acknowledge it. People cling to the status quo, almost desperately as if it was life or death, often without even meaning to. They accept what is, because it is what is. Which, ironically, is how often in wrestling, it’s still very possible to surprise the hell out of everyone. The bigger issue at hand is that if you were to search for most professional male wrestlers you’ll get the following results:

image

If you’re even more specific and search “Lita + Wrestling + Moonsault” then you’ll end up getting photos of her executing a moonsault, but it shouldn’t need to be that on the nose to get a photo of a professional wrestler doing what she does for a living‐ wrestle. But it’s been drilled into my head time and time again, the women of professional wrestling are utilized for a bathroom break, eye candy at best. There are exceptions to this google image search experiment regarding women, and of course it’s when you search a less conventionally attractive fighter, someone they don’t believe can be passed off as a sex symbol:

image

There are added layers of complexity to this that aren’t solely in the realm of the internet. When you look up anything to do with AJ Lee, a three time Diva’s champion and has the longest reign in the title’s history, all the content that comes up is regarding CM Punk and their relationship. These women are lessened to a sex object, either available for public consumption or via their attachment to the superior male wrestler.

When you attend a live show you hear chants like “C M Punk” for AJ Lee, “John Cena” for Nikki Bella”, “US‐O” for Naomi, and “Yes! Yes! Yes!” for Brie Bella, which is her husband’s catchphrase. It’s commonplace for fans to chant the name of a wrestler who is not in the match if they are bored with what is going on, but this time the message is loud and clear, we are less important; we are only a perceivable physical threat if we are large and ugly. Last year, I decided to try to turn this trend on it’s head. At a WWE Live house show at the Ricoh Coliseum there was an NXT Division match between Sami Zayn and Tyson Kidd. Tyson Kidd happens to be the husband of Natayla Neidhart, of the famous Hart family. Normally, this wouldn’t be an important tidbit but I had hit my wits end and started yelling:

“Nattie’s husband!” *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

A few people around me chuckled, I stood up and started to yell louder. My friends joined in and soon thereafter I had an entire section of the venue chanting along with me. Several of these people went to the live taping of RAW the following week in Brooklyn and began that chant again, it caught on like wildfire. The next day there were posts on social media, made by WWE themselves, asking what we thought of #NattiesHusband last night. They’ve carried this storyline through to their massively scripted ‘reality’ show E! Total Divas, where on a recent episode Tyson through the temper tantrum of a toddler about how he isn’t respected and that he is uncomfortable being overshadowed by Nattie. Nattie used this opportunity to boost her husband’s confidence by introducing him to the world she knows best‐ modelling. To make sure to not further crush his ego, Natalya is back in her place as Tyson’s valet and ringside cheerleader where she rightfully belongs. I’m all for dissent, I encourage heckling and fighting against what is presented to you, but maybe it’s time we dissent towards this status quo where the women are mere arm candy.